Selective NMR measurements of homonuclear scalar couplings in isotopically enriched solids
Scalar (J) couplings in solid-state NMR spectroscopy are sensitive to covalent through-bond interactions that make them informative structural probes for a wide range of complex materials. Until now, however, they have been generally unsuitable for use in isotopically enriched solids, such as proteins or many inorganic solids, because of the complications presented by multiple coupled but nonisolated spins. Such difficulties are overcome by incorporating a z-filter that results in a robust method for measuring pure J-coupling modulations between selected pairs of nuclei in an isotopically enriched spin system. The reliability of the new experimental approach is established by using numerical simulations and tested on fully (13)C-labeled polycrystalline L-alanine. It is furthermore shown to be applicable to partially enriched systems, when used in combination with a selective double-quantum (DQ) filter, as demonstrated for the measurement of (2)J((29)Si-O-(29)Si) couplings in a 50% (29)Si-enriched surfactant-templated layered silicate lacking long-range 3D crystallinity. J-coupling constants are obtained with sufficient accuracy to distinguish between different (29)Si-O-(29)Si pairs, shedding insight on the local structure of the silicate framework. The new experiment is appropriate for fully or partially enriched liquid or solid samples.